De Bruyne’s team-mate Phil Foden was announced as young player of the year, with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby taking the women’s player of the year accolade and Manchester City’s Lauren Hemp scooping women’s young player for the third time.
Manchester City midfielder De Bruyne, 29, is the first player to win the men’s award for two straight campaigns since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Thierry Henry is the only other player since the awards started at the end of the 1973-74 season to receive the accolade twice running (2002-03 and 2003-04).
“I am becoming more of a leader on the pitch, off the pitch. I am learning a lot about myself, about the way the team is run and it can only help me for the future,” De Bruyne said in a video released by the PFA.
“You want to win all the trophies with the team and then obviously if you win a trophy like this, this is probably the most important one as an individual trophy in the league.
“To be voted by your competitors who you compete with every game, that says a lot. They are the people, in my view, who know the most about the game and they are trying to get to the best level.
“When you have these things, you can show your kids and say, ‘Look, this is what daddy did when he was younger’.”
🎙️ The PFA Players’ Player of the Year 2021 | @DeBruyneKev
— Professional Footballers' Association (@PFA) June 6, 2021
De Bruyne maintained his outstanding form for City this season as Pep Guardiola’s side won a third Premier League title in four years, scoring six goals and recording 12 assists in 25 league appearances.
The Belgium playmaker pipped City team-mates Foden, Ilkay Gundogan and Ruben Dias, who were named on a six-man shortlist alongside Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes.
Foden capped a superb campaign by being named PFA men’s young player of the year.
The 21-year-old scored 16 goals in 50 appearances for City in all competitions as Guardiola’s side won the title and Carabao Cup while they also reached the Champions League final.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, West Ham’s Declan Rice and Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood were all on the shortlist for the young player prize.
Foden said in a PFA video: “I’m really honoured. There have been some great players in the past that have won it and I feel really lucky to win it because there have been so many great young talents this year. It’s a special moment.”
Chelsea and England forward Kirby scooped the women’s accolade, having found the net 25 times in all competitions as the Blues retained the Women’s Super League title and won the League Cup.
It is the second time the 27-year-old has won the award following her success in 2017-18 and the second occasion she has also been voted women’s footballer of the year by the Football Writers’ Association in the same term.
“It’s really special, it’s an amazing achievement,” she said in a PFA video. “First and foremost, my team-mates are amazing and I would never have won any of the awards that I have or any of the trophies that I have without them.”
Chelsea team-mates Sam Kerr and Ann-Katrin Berger were beaten to the accolade, while Manchester City trio Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Sam Mewis completed the shortlist.
Hemp clinched the women’s young player of the year award for the second consecutive season and for the third time in her career.
The 20-year-old scored nine goals in 21 appearances in all competitions this season and said in a PFA video: “I hope to keep on improving because I know I’m not the finished product.”